We have all heard the news that has been coming out of Japan. Like many people I have been plugged in and watching it unfold day by day, and even hour by hour thanks to the miracle that is Twitter. Estimates put the death told in the tens of thousands, millions are living a bare bones existence, millions more have been displaced from their homes. The people of Japan have faced a 9.0 earthquake, a Tsunami going the speed of a jet plane, and now a nuclear catastrophe not seen since Chernobyl. Understandably the world has been watching the events unfold.
Yesterday I had CBC on in the living room, with live streaming of the billows of radioactive steam streaming from The Fukushima plant. The broad cast cut away from the plant and went into a recap since the earthquake, and it included new footage. Isla was playing on the couch, rolling around seemingly ignoring the TV screen. When all of a sudden she stood up on the floor and pointed at the screen. "Oh no Mommy. Oh no! All their boats are broken. All the boats are smashed! I gotta go fix those boats up. Just a second I gotta go fix their boats." Well right then was a slap to the forehead moment.
So this is my friendly reminder to watch the news after your kiddos have gone to bed. Sure kids under 4 don't understand the difference between the real life news and an upsetting scene in your favorite TV drama, but I don't let Isla in on my Law and Order (the original, Jerry Orbach is my home boy) addiction and so I should be exerting just as much control over the news footage that flows into this home.
I think the PBS web site says it best;
Helping Children Talk About Their Scary Feelings
During troubling times, we'd like to offer some thoughts that may be of help to you and the children in your care. Talking about our fears can often help make them less frightening. Our mission has always been to help families grow in healthy, nurturing ways, and we hope our messages can be of service to you.
- When children mention something frightening, find out what they know about it. (Their fantasies are often very different from the actual truth!) Listening carefully and respecting their concerns can assure them that they can talk about anything with you.
- Somewhere deep inside each one of us human beings is a longing to know that all will be well. Our children need to hear from us adults that we will do everything we can to keep them safe and to help them grow in this world.
- When Fred Rogers was a boy and would see scary things on the news, his mother would say to him, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
- You parents and care givers are of prime importance in your child's life -- what you do, think and say are powerful influences on the children in your care. By helping them find healthy ways of dealing with their feelings -- ways that don't hurt them or anyone else, you're helping to make our world a better, safer place.